Design & Style, Arts & Entertainment

Generating Ideas

Frank Gehry

Lesson time 14:37 min

Sometimes the best ideas begin as the craziest ideas. Frank shares a few of his tips for exploring the crazy ideas, and where to begin again if you're feeling stuck.

Students give MasterClass an average rating of 4.7 out of 5 stars

Topics include: Explore the crazy ideas • Repeat yourself • Overcoming creative block • Question your eureka moments • A typical work day


From jazz, the greatest thing I've heard anybody say is Wayne Shorter who said, you can't rehearse what you ain't invented yet. And it's so true because the creative process is when you're doing a building, you're trying to pull it out of somewhere. And it's like jazz, you respond, and you work intuitively to create something. And it evolves. And often it just starts to appear, like you don't know where it's coming from. And you go with it, you trust it, you leave-- you don't leave it. You don't over think it. You just go with it, and it takes you somewhere. It's a great experience when you're finished you look at it, you say, where the hell did that come from? How did I get that? God damn it, that's so great, you know? Don't tell anybody I didn't know what I was doing. We had a physics teacher, Joe Noble was his name, in the 11th grade. We would stay after school he, would stay after school, and we would sit and talk about all these kind of things. And he egged us on. We used to fantasize some crazy things, like if you have-- this is crazy, OK? So if you have two trains coming on the track, they're equal size, and they hit each other. What happens? They stop dead, right? So now you have the same one train, and then you have half a train and you hit it, so then this gets pushed that way a little bit. And so as this train gets smaller, and smaller, this train pushes it further, and further. But, they always stop it. So then we wondered if a fly could stop the train taking that logic. Well, we spent months thinking about that. People still remind me and make fun of me from that period. Obviously, a fly can't stop a train. But, we really believed it could back then. I think that's important, just to take the risk of doing something even though you know, oh come on, you're never going to stop-- a fly isn't going to stop a train. But, let's see how big a thing has to be to stop the train. Where is the line? And then, what can you do with that information? So there are similarities when you project images. Like now we're doing a house with a brick facade. The brick doesn't hit the ground, it's in suspension. That's stupid to do that because a brick is heavy, you shouldn't do that. So we were going to kill it, we weren't going to do it. And then, I couldn't get it out of my mind, I couldn't stop. So now the house is being designed, and the client loves it so far. And, it's working, we're making it work. Create the logic for it as you go, and it's like doing something with brick that hasn't been done, I don't think. Why do it, though? Why would you do that. Why pursue it? Why? Because it goes back to this background for humanity. It's background for living. It's-- It's a different kind of expression and it gives a different stage set, if you will. And, brick ...

About the Instructor

At 19 years old, Frank Gehry was a truck driver taking sculpture classes at night school. His vision for what architecture could accomplish went on to reshape our cities’ skylines and the imaginations of artists and designers around the world. In his online architecture class, this master builder invites you into his never-before-seen model archive for a look into his creative process.

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Frank Gehry

In 17 lessons, Frank teaches his unconventional philosophy on architecture, design, and art.

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